Sandvik AB, Sweden, has manufactured a ‘smash-proof’ guitar for Swedish metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, using milling and metal Additive Manufacturing technologies. The guitar is said to be the world’s first all-metal, unbreakable guitar, and is the result of a company-wide project at Sandvik to demonstrate how sustainable technologies can be used to make objects which are both highly precise and extremely durable.
At the beginning of the project Henrik Loikkanen, Machining Process Developer at Sandvik Coromant, viewed a number of videos of Malmsteen smashing guitars to understand what happens during the process. “We had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar,” he stated.
A major challenge for the ‘smash-proof’ design was the need to manufacture an extremely complex design, due to the need for high strength at low weight, enabling the guitar to be held comfortably while performing. To tackle this requirement, Sandvik chose to additively manufacture the titanium body of the guitar using Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF).
Amelie Norrby, an AM Engineer who participated in the guitar project, stated, “Additive Manufacturing lets us create lighter, stronger and more flexible components with internal structures that would be impossible to mill traditionally. And it’s more sustainable because you only use the material you need for the component, minimising waste.”
Tomas Forsman, a research and development specialist at Sandvik, stated that he believes the guitar project and the collaboration it required illustrates the ways in which Sandvik’s wide range of expertise and experience can solve unique challenges, even faced with short timeframes. “Collaborating like this is a key for the future,” he commented. “Our customers’ challenges continue to grow more and more complex. We need to bring our expertise to work hand-in-hand with our partners and customers and keep inventing new ways of meeting those challenges.”
When the guitar was complete, Sandvik gave it to Malmsteen to play. The guitarist debuted the guitar at a club in Florida, USA, and failed to smash it – instead damaging the equipment and surfaces he attempted to break it against!
“This guitar is a beast!” Malmsteen stated. “Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours. I can relate to that. The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”